ReviewsReview: Z-Warp

Review: Z-Warp

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Shoot-’em-ups are as popular today as they always have been. I’m not sure if it’s the retro style, simple approach, or hectic action that attracts us all. Whatever it is, you are guaranteed an addictive and hard-hitting experience. The latest title in a long list of games within this genre is Z-Warp. It has every element you’ve come to expect and will take you on a trip down memory lane.

Developed by Panda Indie Studio and Eastasiasoft Limited and published by the latter, this is a vertical shoot-’em-up. It embodies everything that makes the genre fantastic, and I adored its pixelated style, sharp sounds, and mind-boggling action. Furthermore, it is simple to pick up but almost impossible to put down.

The first boss in Z-Warp will test you.
The first boss will test you!

Z-Warp has a classic 80s-inspired story.

The story of Z-Warp plays second fiddle to the hefty action that unfolds. However, it is glorious and absurd. Moreover, it epitomises 80s gaming and you’ll adore its outrageous ways. The year is 21XX, and the Z-Division has been developing top-secret space exploration technology. Sadly, though, the experiment has gone wrong. After a successful warp into the far reaches of space, there is radio silence. Earth waits with bated breath and suddenly, a message comes through. Worryingly, it is a call for help and only a hero can save the day. Subsequently, a new pilot must be selected, and that is you. Your mission is to explore deep space and find the black box. By doing this, mankind will understand what went wrong and learn from its mistakes.

As I said, it’s absurd but wonderfully ridiculous at the same time. Once you understand the central story, you a flung into action. Consequently, you may pick between two game modes, story and endless. Both are equally challenging, hectic, and follow the same principles. Effectively, whatever you choose, you’ll scream and cry as you die for the nth time. 

Take down snappy.
Oh Snappy, go easy on me, please.

High scores, enormous bosses, and heavy weaponry. 

As expected, Z-Warp has straightforward goals and is easy to understand. Therefore, the aim of both modes is to destroy every foe and obtain the highest score possible. Sounds simple, right? Wrong! Everything wants to kill you, as space is a dangerous and hostile place. Moreover, every stage is loaded with aliens that shoot you while having Kamikaze tendencies. On top of this, the end level bosses are just brutal. Subsequently, they are gargantuan terrors that emit bombs, and lasers, and are killing machines. 

If you somehow survive a level, you must dust yourself off and start again. Furthermore, each stage you undertake has unique problems that must be overcome. Whether it’s spiked walls, aliens that block your way, or more, the solution stares you in the face. So, the enemies are tough, but you are tougher, still. Thankfully, you are armed with a laser cannon, machine gun, bombs, and an all-powerful instant kill. However, these aren’t always enough and you must rely on your ship’s shield. Fortunately, this does recharge, but you’ll need time and luck to keep it powered.

Z-Warp is beautifully dated. 

Like its peers, Z-Warp is wonderfully dated. Its garish colours, simple sprites, and easy to follow vertical scrolling perspective are beautifully retro. Furthermore, the environments are varied, and this keeps things interesting. Alongside this, I loved how the action plays out in a small confined space. The white-bordered gaming area was reminiscent of a Gameboy, and this adds to the nostalgia.

This genre is renowned for its heavy soundtracks and loud sound effects. Luckily, Z-Warp is no different. Consequently, the music screams at you as you unleash hell upon your opponents. What’s more, the noise gets louder and more unbearable as you unload your arsenal of weapons. Now, this may seem horrific, but it is not. It’s wonderfully OTT and enhances the madness that unfolds.

Z-Warp demands you use your killer weapons.
It’s killer weapon time.

Where’s the explanation?

Being thrust into the action isn’t a bad thing, but a small tutorial wouldn’t go a miss. Disappointingly, Z-Warp fails to explain any of the fundamentals. Therefore, there is a fair amount of trial and error before you master it. Fortunately, though, the stages are tiny, so the disappointment is short-lived. 

If you love the genre, you’ll play this until the cows come home. It’s undeniably addictive, and I loved trying to top the leaderboard. What’s more, the two modes keep you playing for hours. Alongside this, longevity is increased thanks to its tough achievement list. You’ll have to better many bosses if you wish to complete the game. All I can say is, best of luck. 

Z-Warp is old-school gaming personified.

Thanks to its simple approach, challenging gameplay, and garish aesthetics, this is as retro as it comes. In fact, Z-Warp is old-school gaming personified. I adored its brutality, moreish ways, and heavy audio. Consequently, I recommend that you buy it here! Can you venture into deep space and complete your mission? Jump in your ship, destroy your foes, and attempt to survive. 

SUMMARY

Z-Warp is a fantastic shoot-'em-up that embraces the much-loved mechanics. You'll destroy every alien you encounter and die repeatedly. Subsequently, it's difficult, addictive, and beautifully retro.


+ Incredible old-school graphics.
+ Loud audio.
+ Addictive gameplay.
+ An excellent example of the genre.
+ Plenty of replay value.

- There should have been a clear tutorial.

(Rating: PEGI Teen, Violence, Blood Release Date: 06/04/2022 Price: £6.00)


(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.)

Daniel Waite
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: Daniel@moviesgamesandtech.com

2 COMMENTS

  1. Not sure why a tutorial is required when there is a simple 4 page guide on the main menu.

    • A tutorial stage wouldn’t really be unheard of. Consequently, nearly every game has one and nearly every game has the controls and fundamentals explained in the menu as well.

      I’m simply explaining what I believe was missing but each to their own.

      Thanks for reading the review and taking the time to comment.

      Dan

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Review: Z-Warp<p class="has-text-align-justify" style="font-size:14px"><em>Z-Warp</em> is a fantastic shoot-'em-up that embraces the much-loved mechanics. You'll destroy every alien you encounter and die repeatedly. Subsequently, it's difficult, addictive, and beautifully retro.</p><br/> + Incredible old-school graphics. <br/> + Loud audio. <br/> + Addictive gameplay. <br/> + An excellent example of the genre. <br/> + Plenty of replay value. <br/> <br/> - There should have been a clear tutorial. <br/> <br/> <p class="has-text-align-center" style="font-size:10px">(<b>Rating:</b> PEGI Teen, Violence, Blood <b>Release Date:</b> 06/04/2022 <b>Price:</b> £6.00)</p><br/> <p class="has-text-align-center" style="font-size:10px">(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.)<br/>